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Danger! Weapons, and boys

Posted Aug 26 2008 11:37pm

There comes a point in every Mother of boy’s life when she begins to weaken on the subject of weapons. For some, sisters of boys, those with a handle on gender differences and the unconcerned, this comes sooner rather than later. As a member of the neurotic, over involved parent society, this has come to me just recently.

Despite my tendency to favor books featuring weapons (crime novels and mysteries) as an active pacifist, I advocated a “no weapons” rule for my DS. By the time the Hamster turned two, this had changed to a “swords only” rule and then, later, an “if you make it” you can have it but, I’m not buying it” rule. It now seems that too has fallen by the wayside.

The Hamster is currently enamored of Robin Hood and spends his time recently listening to his Robin Hood CD, bugging my DH to watch clips from old Robin Hood movies with him, “reading” his Robin Hood books and avidly discussing the inconsistencies of the different versions of the story with his best friends. This has naturally led to acting out the story with his Playmobil figures and dressing the part. There comes the rub…Robin Hood has weapons.

Of course, DH by this time is in favor of allowing him weapons. DH abhors electronic, light up fantasy guns but, smiled effusively when we came home yesterday with a wooden dagger, an unusual reaction for him when we bring home yet another toy.

So it seems I have caved. Really caved, as I then acceded to The Hamster’s request to help him make a bow out of Tinker Toys and a rubber band and then whip up a quiver on my sewing machine for the Tinker Toy arrows. He spent the evening proudly strutting around the house, arrow filled quiver attached by a playcord on his back, and dagger on his belt.

This for me, of course, leads to niggling feelings of self-doubt and pondering, “So, what is my rule NOW!” Fortunately this morning, I happened upon a Post discussing a new book, The Dangerous Book for Boys. While most articles in the mainstream discuss the risk taking focus of this book; I focused on DrHelen’s comment:

The authors make no secret of their belief in the magically beneficial effects of children making their own fun.

Now this is a concept I can back. The book, apparently lists items every boy needs to start along that path of creating his own fun and declares that old fashioned boy activities have a place in today’s video/cell phone/ Game boy world.

What every boy should have to hand to hand:

· Swiss Army knife - removes splinters
· Compass - your trusty guide
· Handkerchief - doubles as a sling
· Magnifying glass - look at small things, start a campfire
· A marble - big one, for luck
· Needle and thread - to sew up wounds, mend torn shirt
· Pencil and paper - note down criminals' car numbers
· Torch - read secret plans by night
· Fish-hook and thread - add stick and worm and you won't starve
· Box of matches - dip the tips in wax (it waterproofs them)

I notice that Tinkertoy arrows and felt quivers don’t make the list, but then again, this book is targeted to a middle school crowd. Perhaps the list might be modified for preschoolers, though that still means I must rethink my rule.

For now, I’ll stick with a modified version of “If you make it, you can have it.” But, add in “…perhaps I’ll buy it if it’s wood and has historical value.” Obviously, this is a work in process.

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